It would be a hard change, '97 wheelbase is 3" shorter.
'83-'88 is First Generation
'89-'92 is First .5 Generation, small changes to looks
'93-'97 is Second Generation
'98-up is Third Generation
" 1998 - Improvements to engines include enlarging the base four-cylinder engine from 2.3-liters to 2.5-liters and giving the 3.0-liter V6 a new intake manifold that improves torque, or pulling power, by 14 percent.
>>Then the standard cab was stretched 3 inches, thanks to a 3.6-inch increase in wheelbase.
>>With the '98 redo, the Ranger's previous C-section frame is now boxed from the front bumper to the A-posts, which greatly enhances overall solidity.
>>The Ranger's sheetmetal forward of the A-pillars has been tastefully cleaned up for '98.
>>The fresh pieces include a new grille, bumper, valance, lighting, and aluminum hood.
>>Designers also lowered the truck's hoodline and increased the rear-window size, which greatly improves outward visibility.
Another '98 change that positively influenced the ride and steering quality was the front-suspension's overhaul. Ford replaced the veteran twin I-beams with a new wishbone-style front suspension that uses coil springs or torsion bars. New "Pulse Vacuum" hub-locks enables virtually silent 4x4 engagement on the fly with a flick of the dash switch."